Fermenting fruit is tricky. But once you have it down, it is a delicious accompaniment to many recipes. Try this blueberry coffee cake with fermented blueberries and you’ll be asking where the nearest u-pick farm is located.
Fermenting fruit is quick and easy, but I’m always looking for new ways to incorporate them into my cooking. Of course, they can be put into smoothies or used as a quick jam on delicious homemade sourdough, but there’s plenty of other ways that they can make a tasty addition to your family’s meals.
One of my favorite ways to use fermented blueberries is in this easy homemade blueberry coffee cake. The fermented blueberries (or raspberries, cherries, etc) add a delicious tang to this recipe that otherwise might be a bit too sweet or one dimensional.
While most coffee cake and danish dough require complicated steps to fold in butter, with refrigeration and perhaps as much as six hours of on-again, off-again work, this one can be put together in just a few minutes with minimal equipment.
If you’re really looking to go all the way with your ferments, the yeasted sweet bread exterior can be made using a sourdough starter instead of standard yeast, and you can use your home-cultured cream cheese instead of store-bought, meaning that just about everything going into the recipe is home-fermented. For simplicity, perhaps just start with this recipe, and enjoy yet another way to use home-fermented fruit.
Instead of the blueberry ferment, feel free to substitute just about any other fermented fruit or fruit butter. Why not try a quick fermented pumpkin or apple butter for a fall treat? Or stick with summer fruits and try raspberries, plums or cherries.
How to Make Blueberry Coffee Cake
with Fermented Blueberries
- 2 tsp yeast
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk
- 1/4 cup butter (room temperature or softened)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg
- 3 cups flour
Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 cup cream cheese (homemade or 8 oz package store-bought)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla (or lemon flavor)
- 1 egg
- 3 Tbs flour
- 1 cup fermented fruit or fruit butter, drained
- 1/4 cup sugar (adjusted to taste)
- 1 Tb tapioca starch (optional, see note)
Begin by preparing the yeasted dough. If using standard yeast, mix the yeast and milk and allow it to bloom for 5 minutes, or skip this step for instant yeast.
Combine all bread dough ingredients, and knead together by hand or in a stand mixer with a bread hook. I used a stand mixer and kneaded for five minutes with a bread hook until the dough came together completely and gluten began to form.
Allow to rise on the counter for roughly an hour until doubled in bulk.
While the bread is rising, make your cream cheese mixture. Be sure the cream cheese and egg are both at room temperature so they incorporate fully without lumps. Mix the cream cheese, egg, vanilla, sugar and flour together until combined, using a mixer. Mix as little as possible to avoid incorporating too much air into the batter. It should be just combined, ideally without lumps, but not over-beaten.
For the fruit filling, the preparation will depend on how your ferment came out. The ideal filling is a thick jam in texture. If your ferment is particularly liquid-y, begin by draining it through cheesecloth. Mix in the sugar, being sure to adjust quantity to your taste and the type of fruit you’re using. If your ferment is not at a jam-like consistency at this point, put it into a small saucepan and cook it down, optionally adding a tablespoon of tapioca flour or a small amount of cornstarch to thicken it. What you do here will entirely depend on how you’ve fermented your fruit in the first place, but regardless, your end goal is a fruit jam spread.
Decide whether you’d like to make one large braid or two smaller more manageable braids. For one large braid, you’ll need a very large sheet pan. If you only have smaller pans, divide the dough in half and roll out until the dough is roughly 8” wide by 12” long.
Slice both sides of the dough into strips, leaving a solid strip down the center (see picture). Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the center strip, and then top with your fermented fruit mixture.
Braid the bread strips over the top, and optionally glaze with milk or an egg yolk beaten in with a little water. For instructions on the braiding process, see King Arthur Flour’s video on making a filled braid. They choose to put fruit on the bottom and cream cheese on top, I prefer the opposite, but it’s up to you.
Bake at 350 degrees for roughly 40 minutes, until the dough is golden brown and the fruit has begun to bubble out of the dough cracks.
If you’re able, wait until your blueberry coffee cake is completely cool to cut and serve. It’s delicious warm, but it’s much better fully cooled.
At Fermentools, we take our bread recipes seriously. For more healthy bread recipes, check out our Bread Recipe Category page.
Ashley is an off-grid homesteader in central Vermont. She is passionate about fermentation, charcuterie, and foraging. Read more about her adventures at VermontMangoPlantation.com.